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Early turnout good in city voting

City polling place workers reported strong early turnout fortoday’s party primaries election for mayor, alderman and otherelected offices.

“I think it’s been good,” said Janet Moreton, Democratic pollmanager in Ward 4 where 69 people had participated in that primaryfollowing about an hour’s worth of voting.

Ward 4 voters today are having to choose between taking part inDemocratic primary for citywide offices for mayor, chief of policeand alderman-at-large or voting in the Republican primary wherethree candidates are seeking the alderman’s post. The GOP primaryhad seen 35 people vote this morning at Brookhaven ElementarySchool.

“It’s coming along pretty good,” said Joe Moak, Republican pollmanager.

With 1,518 voters, Ward 4 is the city’s largest ward. Moak wasexpecting around a 50 percent turnout and the 2-1 Democrat toRepublican primary voter ratio to be constant.

“It’ll go like that the rest of the day,” Moak said.

Other ward workers were also expecting a good turnout.

“It’s going to be a great day,” said Dorothy Watkins, Democraticpoll manager in Ward 1. “They’re coming out to vote today.”

Ward 1, with its voting place in the Cloverdale AcresAdministrative office, had seen 24 people vote before 8 a.m. Theward has 1,180 total voters.

By 8 a.m., 37 out of 1,219 Ward 2 voters had participated at theAlexander Junior High School auditorium. Democratic poll managerMaude Davis said citizens have a “beautiful day” to come out andvote.

“Everything is running along smoothly,” she said. “We’re lookingfor a good turnout.”

In Ward 3, with voting at the government complex, Democraticpoll manager Curtis Forrest said 42 people had voted and that waspretty good for early in the day. The ward has 1,235 voters.

“There were several here before we opened up,” Forrest said. “Itlooks like it’s going to be busy throughout the day.”

Dorothy Lofton, Democratic poll manager in Ward 5, also reportedpeople waiting to vote before polls opened at 7 a.m. In that ward,36 out of 1,209 registered voters had participated by a littleafter 8 a.m. at the chamber of commerce building.

In Ward 6, which votes at Mamie Martin Elementary School,Democratic poll manager Becky Grim described that ward’s 60-voterturnout as fair. The ward has 1,220 registered voters.

“It could be better, but it’s been pretty good,” Grim said.

Grim expected turnout to pick up around noon and after 4 p.m.when people start to get off work.

Polls are open today until 7 p.m.

On the Democratic ballot for citywide races today, incumbentMayor W.W. “Bill Godbold is facing Alderman-at-large Henry Newmanand Roger Ruffin Osborne. The Rev. Jerry Durr, whose name alsoappears on the ballot, withdrew Monday due to a prior legalproblem.

The Democratic primary winner will face Republican Ward 4Alderman John Roberts and Independent Percy Rauls in the June 5general election.

In the Chief of Police race, Assistant Chief Arlustra “Pap”Henderson is facing Lt. Bateman Stilley. With no Republicancandidate, today’s winner will be the city’s next police chief,replacing the retiring Fred McKee.

In the Alderman-at-large race, Ronnie Bass, Les Bumgarner, DonnaWilkerson and Mrs. Jerry L. Wilson are squaring off for theDemocratic nomination. With no Republican candidate, the Democraticprimary winner will be elected alderman-at-large.

In ward races, Ward 1 has incumbent Dorsey Cameron facing DonaldDixon. Today’s winner will be elected since there is no Republicanseeking the office.

Ward 2 has incumbent Terry Bates facing Billy Simon, Charlie LeeSmith, Rolanda Spiller and J.D. Watkins. No Republican is seekingthe office, so the Democratic primary winner will be electedalderman.

In Ward 3, the incumbent Rev. Jerry L. Wilson is going againstClarence B. “Doc” Johnson and Moses L. Bates. The Democraticprimary winner will be elected since there is not a Republicancandidate seeking the office.

Ward 4 is the only ward where there are both a Democratic andRepublican primary.

Democratic primary voters are participating in city-wide raceswhile Republican voters are choosing between Bob Massengill, BoyceBullock and Gary S. Boutwell as the GOP nominee for alderman. TheRepublican primary winner will face Democrat Jerry Case, who isunopposed, in the general election.

In Ward 5, incumbent Tom Smith is going against Gerald Boyd andCurtis Ray Sutterfield for the Democratic nomination. The winnerwill face Republican John Richardson, who is unopposed, in thegeneral election.

Ward 6 has incumbent John E. “Buddy” Allen seeking another termas alderman against fellow Democrats Nell Beeson, Billy Carson andLeroy Hewitt. The Democratic primary winner will face Keith Peden,who has no opposition for the Republican nomination.

In any primary where a candidate fails to get a 50 percent plusone vote majority, the top two vote-getters will meet in a runoffon Tuesday, May 15. The general election will then be held onTuesday, June 5.

After polls close at 7 p.m., workers at the polling places willcount the votes and then bring totals to the city clerk’s office,said City Clerk Iris Rudman. Rudman said citizens may view the votecounting as it takes place at the ward voting locations.

“The vote counting is open to the public,” Rudman said.